Yes, a home could be sold in Barrington for as little as $1.
It's not part of a federal stimulus plan, but it could help revitalize Barrington's downtown. Three aging homes in downtown Barrington could be saved if the village can find a purchaser who would move the buildings to a new site.
The village board on Monday approved a plan to sell the homes for as little as $1. Village officials want purchasers to move the homes to another location. If the village doesn't receive a bid on a home, that home will be demolished.
"The priority is to save buildings whenever we can that are part of our downtown," Village President Karen Darch said.
Moving the homes would free up space to attract a developer. The homes lie within the Hough-Main redevelopment zone where village officials want to draw retailers, and village is offering tax incentives to attract a developer. Two of the homes were placed on the market about a year and a half ago, but the village didn't receive any bids. This time the village is offering a $10,000 incentive to any purchaser. That amount is what officials said would cost to demolish a house.
There's debate over the homes' historical significance. Joe Coath, vice chairman of the village's Architectural Review Commission, said he believes the home on 117 Main St. was the original home of the Catlow family, the family which started the village's mainstay Catlow Theater in 1927. While the home lies outside of the village's historic district, that alone makes it worth preserving, he reasons. The two other homes - bungalows at 132 and 138 W. Station St. - do reside in the village's historic district.
The village has a plan for a park at the site of that home, at least until a developer comes along with a better plan, said Marty O'Donnell, chair of the committee. He would rather wait for a developer to make a proposal before acting.
"I just don't see the haste in razing the buildings," he said.
John Julian, former chair of the committee, said 117 Main St. is the last example of the Greek revival architectural style left in the village, and that's what makes it worth saving. He said he'd rather see village officials use one of the homes as part of a redevelopment plan rather than see the homes razed.
The village will solicit sealed bids on the three homes from Oct. 1 through Oct. 23. Those bids will go through the plan commission for review. The village wants the homes to be moved or demolished by Dec. 23. Contact the village for details on how to submit bids.
Homes: Bidding begins Oct. 1